Thursday, October 01, 2015

Last Day in Dublin

Our last day was a museum day.  After breakfast, we went to the James Joyce Center and saw the real door from number seven Eccles St, and other exhibits related to James Joyce.  A short walk from the James Joyce Center is the Dublin Writers Museum, which catalogs the history of Irish literature and the lives of a wide variety of Irish writers. This was so interesting to me and I learned some things and discovered a couple of Irish writers I'd like to read, namely Kate O'Brien and Mary Lavin.  I was hoping to see something about Laetitia Pilkington, an 18th century Irish writer whose memoir I was reading all through out trip, but there wasn't anything. I think her position as a true contributor to Irish literature might be somewhat controversial.  Anyway, there will be more about Mrs. Pilkington in an upcoming blog post.

We rested for a bit in the Garden of Remembrance and then walked to the medieval area of Dublin, of which very little survives.  We saw a few medieval walls and looked at Christ Church, St. Audoens, and St. Patrick's Cathedral.  I wanted to walk to the National Museum of Decorative Arts, and maybe wander into Phoenix Park and see Ashtown Castle, but we ran out of time.  We will just have to return to Ireland, which we certainly will do.  One thing everybody asked us was "Is this your first time in Ireland?"  All the Americans we met had been to Ireland many times and the Irish we met seemed to take it for granted that American visitors will keep returning.

Before dinner, I walked from our hotel to Henrietta Street, which was designated on our map as the oldest inhabited Georgian street in Dublin.  Jon stayed back at the hotel to rest.  The walk was longer than I realized and the streets grew progressively shabbier along the way.  When I reached Henrietta St., a large sign announced that "antisocial behavior" was subject to a € 3000 fine.  I realized that I had foolishly blundered into a bad neighborhood, alone, at dusk, in a foreign city.  I was hesitant to take any pictures, but then a respectably-dressed elderly man popped out of one of the houses, talking on a phone and gesturing to people he saw approaching from far down the street, so I thought I might safely take a picture or two and then leave.  Which I did, and no one even said "boo."  The thing to do when you want to safely get out of a dodgy neighborhood is to act like you know exactly where you're going, and walk with purpose.  I got along just fine for a couple of blocks and then saw an interesting church that I thought I could just pop into for a second.  I turned down its street and then realized I was pushing my luck, abruptly changed course, and in doing that, somehow caused a massive charlie horse in my calf.  So now, I was alone at dusk in a bad neighborhood in a foreign city and limping.  I got home safely, but it was a very uncomfortable walk.  I'm sure my personal safety was never at risk, and I only had six euros and a camera on me, so even getting robbed wouldn't have been a catastrophe, but it definitely would have been upsetting.  When I was pickpocketed in Cape Town--even though I was able to get my property back from the pickpocketer--I was really rattled.

We wanted a nice dinner for our last night, so we made reservations at The Winding Stair and our meal was awesome!  The restaurant overlooks the Liffey and the Halfpenny Bridge and we were given a table by the window.  Jon ordered lamb and I had butternut squash, stuffed with kale, cheese, and other yummies.  Overall, the food in Ireland was really good.  Even little towns like Castletownbere and Dingle had fine dining, and there is really good seafood everywhere.  For lunch, we would usually stop in a pub and get the soup of the day with brown bread, which usually cost about five euros and was very satisfying.

The real door to number seven Eccles St.

Approaching St. Audeon's in the medieval part of Dublin


A pub

Henrietta Street--oldest inhabited Georgian street in Dublin

4 comments:

  1. I love that photo of Henrietta Street because it looks like nothing has changed in hundreds of years (except for the cars at the end). "Antisocial behavior" is such a vague term but I'm glad no one tried to mug you.

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    1. "Antisocial behavior" seems to be a buzzword in Ireland and the UK. We heard it mentioned on the news from the UK a few times and there was a repeated notice on the trains we took about how to report antisocial behavior. It seems to include public urination, rude language, and anything else that makes people uncomfortable.

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  2. All adventures need a little bit of thrill to them, yes?

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  3. What a time you've had! That old street is grand, and I also recall the fantastic food in Ireland. You bring it to life with these posts.

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